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BIODEGRADATION OF ALKANOLAMINES IN BATCH AND PACKED-BED REACTORS USING FREE LACCASE AND SOL-GEL LACCASE

NUR ATIKAH BINTI MOHIDEM

A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Chemical Engineering)

Faculty of Chemical and Energy Engineering Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

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DEDICATION

This thesis is dedicated to Allah swt, prophet Muhammad saw, my beloved husband, parents and grandparents

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Alhamdulillah. In the name of Allah S.W.T., the Most Gracious and Merciful. Peace be upon Muhammad S.A.W., the messenger of Allah S.W.T. May Allah grant peace and honour on Him and His family ( ٍدﱠﻣَﺣُﻣ ِلآ ﻰَﻠَﻋ َو ٍدﱠﻣَﺣُﻣ ﻰَﻠَﻋ ِّلَﺻ ﱠمُﮭﱠﻠﻟا). Greatest thanks to Almighty Allah S.W.T for His blessing and aid throughout the research. First and foremost, my deepest love and high appreciation to my beloved parents Hj Mohidem and Hjh Safiah, my beloved grandparents, the late Hj Hassan and Hjh Aishah, my beloved husband Suhail, my beloved parents in law Hj Muhammad and Hjh Khodizah, my beloved sister Adibah, my beloved aunties Khuzaimah, Haniza, Haslina and Asiah and my relatives who have given me endless support and love at all times. Thank you so much!

Secondly, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisor, Associate Professor Dr. Hanapi Mat who has given me guidance, encouragement and confidence to conduct this research under his supervision. Thank you for your willingness to spend time with me in completing this research.

Thirdly, I would like to acknowledge my gratitude to my internal and external examiners, Professor Dr Ida Idayu Muhamad and Professor Dr Robiah Yunus for their guidance throughout my thesis correction. Your comments for thesis improvement were very much appreciated.

Not to forget, thank you to all my colleagues who have supported me and shared their precious ideas and suggestions in solving my research problems. I would like to thank Mada, Nazrah, DrRoket group, Post Graduate Support Group, AMPEN group members, Kak Lin, Kak Syura, and Ilah.

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I also wish to thank my Head of Department at the Manipal International University, Malaysia, Prof Dr Murthy Velury for giving me the opportunity to use the campus facilities. Thanks to Prof Dr Syed Nur Azman, Dr Yee, Dr Asrul and colleagues at Manipal International University for sharing advice for my PhD thesis writing.

Last but not least, I am grateful to Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (Fundamental Research Grant Scheme) and the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia for the financial assistance (MyPhd) used towards completing my studies. Again, thanks to all of you. With all your help and guidance, I managed to complete my Doctor of Philosophy degree successfully and gain optimum benefits.

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ABSTRACT

Alkanolamine is commonly used in natural gas processing plant for carbon dioxide removal from natural gas. Alkanolamine may incidentally release and contaminate the surrounding soil and water due to plant operational failure or irresponsible related activities. Thus, the application of laccase for biodegradation of alkanolamine, which has not been reported so far, carried out in batch (shake flask) and continuous (packed-bed) reactors was investigated. Though, biodegradation using laccase may offer many advantages, the free laccase (FL) itself is unstable, cannot be reused and poor of thermal and storage stability. The sol-gel laccase (SGL), i.e. SOLAC04 was therefore synthesized by manipulating triethylamine (TEA) concentration (which was used as a gelating agent), laccase loading (LL),

agitation conditions (with or without sonication), and experimental procedures (one-step or two-(one-step) towards obtaining a higher laccase catalytic activity and stability. The SOLAC04 synthesized using two-step procedure, TEA (0.1 mL), laccase loading, LL (5 mg/mL) and without sonication had the highest laccase catalytic

activity and stability as compared to other synthesized by SGL samples. This result suggested that the entrapment in silica matrix provided an additional framework for the preservation of an active laccase conformation at higher temperature and long storage duration. The biodegradation of alkanolamines: diethanolamine (DEA), ethanolamine and N-methylethanolamine was carried out in batch reactor using both FL and SGL; and optimized using response surface methodology. The results showed that the biodegradation efficiency (µ) and biodegradation rate of DEA using SOLAC04 was higher than other alkanolamines and observed to be higher compared to FL. The µ of DEA in batch reactor using FL and SOLAC04, respectively reached an optimum value at 50 °C and 40 °C. The µ of DEA increased with increasing dosage (Ds) of FL and SOLAC04. It was also revealed that the SOLAC04 are fairly

stable and can be used many times. The µ of DEA remained constant at almost the same level after being reused for 5 times. The biodegradation performance and µ of DEA using FL under optimum pH of 5.8, temperature of 45.71°C, D

s of 37.14 mg,

and reaction time of 42.66 minutes were 84.8 % and 0.077 mg-1, while for SGL obtained under the optimum pH of 5, temperature of 41°C, Ds of 34.01 mg, and

reaction time of 57.59 minutes were 66 % and 1.11 mg-1, respectively. The µ of DEA in packed-bed reactor using SOLAC04 was optimum at pH 6, 250 mL/h and 500 ppm. The µ of DEA increased with increasing Ds of SOLAC04. These experimental

results demonstrated the advantages gained from entrapment of laccase in silica matrix and the biodegradation superiority of the SGL over FL for the removal of alkanolamines. Thus, the potential of laccase especially SGL for biodegradation of the alkanolamine was finally demonstrated.

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ABSTRAK

Alkanolamina lazimya digunakan dalam loji pemprosesan gas asli untuk penyingkiran karbon dioksida daripada gas asli. Alkanolamina secara tidak sengaja boleh terbebas dan mencemarkan tanah dan air yang berada di persekitaran yang berpunca daripada kegagalan operasi atau berkaitan kecuaian aktiviti. Oleh yang demikian, penggunaan lakase untuk biodegradasi, yang mana belum dilaporkan setakat ini telah dilaksanakan dalam reaktor kelompok (kelalang goncang) dan reaktor berterusan (turus terpadat). Walaupun biodegradasi menggunakan lakase boleh memberikan banyak manfaat, lakase bebas (FL) sendiri tidak stabil, tidak dapat diguna semula, dan kurang kestabilan terma dan penyimpanan. Dengan sebab itu, lakase sol-gel (SGL) seperti SOLAC04 telah disintesis dengan memanipulasi kepekatan trietilamina (TEA) (yang mana digunakan sebagai bahan gelatin), muatan lakase (LL), keadaan pengadukan (bersama atau tanpa sonikasi), dan tatacara

eksperimen (satu langkah atau dua langkah) ke arah mendapatkan peningkatan aktiviti bermangkin dan kestabilan. SOLAC04 disintesis menggunakan tatacara dua langkah, TEA (0.1 mL), muatan lakase, LL (5 mg/mL) dan tanpa sonikasi

mempunyai lakase aktiviti bermangkin dan kestabilan paling tinggi jika dibandingkan dengan yang disintesis oleh sampel SGL yang lain. Keputusan ini menunjukkan bahawa pemerangkapan dalam matriks silika memberikan rangka tambahan untuk pemeliharaan bentuk lakase aktif pada suhu yang lebih tinggi dan tempoh penyimpanan yang panjang. Biodegradasi alkanolamina: dietanolamina (DEA), etanolamina dan N-metiletanolamina telah dijalankan dalam reaktor kelompok menggunakan kedua-dua FL dan SGL, dan dioptimumkan menggunakan kaedah permukaan tindak balas. Keputusan menunjukkan bahawa kecekapan biodegradasi (µ) dan kadar biodegradasi untuk DEA menggunakan SOLAC04 lebih tinggi berbanding dengan alkanolamina lain, dan juga lebih tinggi berbanding dengan FL. Nilai µ untuk DEA dalam reaktor kelompok menggunakan FL dan SOLAC04 masing-masingnya mencapai optimum pada 50 °C dan 40 °C. Manakala nilai µ untuk DEA meningkat dengan peningkatan muatan (Ds) untuk FL dan SOLAC04.

Ianya telah ditunjukkan bahawa SOLAC04 adalah sangat stabil dan boleh digunakan berulang kali, iaitu nilai µ untuk DEA kekal malar pada aras hampir sama selepas digunakan sebanyak 5 kali. Perolehan biodegradasi dan nilai µ untuk DEA menggunakan FL pada pH optimum 5.8, suhu 45.71°C, Ds 37.14 mg, dan masa

tindak balas 42.66 minit masing-masing adalah 84.8 % dan 0.077 mg-1, sementara untuk SGL yang telah didapati optimum pada pH 5, suhu pada 41°C, Ds 34.01 mg,

dan masa tindak balas 57.59 minit masing-masing adalah 66 % dan 1.11 mg-1. Nilai

µ untuk DEA dalam reaktor turus terpadat menggunakan SOLAC04 memiliki tahap optimum pada pH 6, 250 mL/h dan 500 ppm. Nilai µ untuk DEA meningkat dengan peningkatan Ds untuk SOLAC04. Keputusan eksperimen ini telah membuktikan

kemanfaatan yang diperolehi daripada pemerangkapan lakase dalam matriks silika dan keunggulan SGL berbanding FL bagi penyingkiran alkanolamina. Oleh yang demikian, akhirnya potensi lakase terutama SGL untuk biodegradasi alkanolamina telah akhirnya dibuktikan.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER TITLE PAGE

DECLARATION ii

DEDICATION iii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT iv

ABSTRACT vi

ABSTRAK vii

TABLE OF CONTENTS viii

LIST OF TABLES xii

LIST OF FIGURES xiv

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS xviii

LIST OF SYMBOLS xix

LIST OF APPENDICES xxi

1 INTRODUCTION 1 1.1 Research Background 1 1.2 Problem Statement 3 1.3 Objectives of Research 4 1.4 Research Scope 5 1.5 Novelty Statements 6 1.6 Thesis Outline 7 1.7 Summary 7 2 LITERATURE REVIEW 8 2.1 Introduction 8

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2.2.1 Introduction 8

2.2.2 Catalytic reaction models 10

2.2.3 Enzymatic degradation by laccase 12

2.3 Enzyme Immobilisation and Stabilization 14 2.3.1 Enzyme immobilisation 14 2.3.2 Enzyme immobilisation through entrapment in sol-gel silica 21 2.3.3 Characterization of immobilised enzyme 26

2.3.3.1 Physical properties 26 2.3.3.2 Chemical properties 27 2.3.3.3 Biological properties 28 2.4 Biodegradation of alkanolamines 35 2.4.1 Introduction to alkanolamines 35 2.4.2 Biodegradation of alkanolamine using oxidoreductase 35

2.4.3 Bioreactors for Biodegradation 40

2.5 Optimisation 44 2.5.1 Introduction to optimisation 44 2.5.2 Optimisation by Response Surface Methodology (RSM) 44 2.5.3 Box-Behken Design 45

2.5.4 Statistical design of experiment in biodegradation process 46

2.6 Summary 48

3 MATERIALS AND METHODS 49

3.1 Introduction 49

3.2 Materials 49

3.3 Laccase Entrapment in Sol-gel Silica and Its

Characterisation 51

3.3.1 Entrapment procedures 51

3.3.2 Determination of laccase leaching 53 3.3.3 Laccase catalytic activity assays 55

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3.3.4 Characterisations of sol-gel laccases (SGLs) 55

3.4 Biodegradation of Alkanolamine 56

3.4.1 Biodegradation in in batch reactor 56 3.4.2 Biodegradation in packed-bed reactor (PBR) 58 3.4.3 Biodegradation optimisation using Response Surface Methodology (RSM) 60 3.4.4 Alkanolamine determination 64

3.5 Summary 66

4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 67

4.1 Introduction 67

4.2 Characterisation, Catalytic Activity, and Stability of

Sol-Gel Laccases 67

4.2.1 Characterisation of Sol-Gel Laccases 68 4.2.2 Catalytic activity of sol–gel laccase 76

4.2.2.1 Effect of synthesis conditions against sol-gel laccase catalytic

activity 76

4.2.2.2 FTIR analysis of laccase catalytic

activity 80

4.2.3 Stability of sol–gel laccase (SGL) 86

4.2.3.1 Effect of pH 86

4.2.3.2 Effect of temperature 88

4.2.3.3 Effect of storage duration 90 4.3 Biodegradation of Alkanolamine in Batch Reactor 94

4.3.1 Effect of time course 94

4.3.2 Effect of pH 99

4.3.3 Effect of temperature 100

4.3.4 Effect of substrate (DEA) concentration 101 4.3.5 Effect of enzyme loadings (Ds) 103

4.3.6 Reusability 104

4.4 Optimisation using the Response Surface

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4.4.1 Optimisation of DEA biodegradation by free

laccase (FL) using RSM 106

4.4.2 Optimisation of DEA biodegradation by

SOLAC04 using RSM 122

4.5 Biodegradation of Alkaolamine in Packed-Bed

Reactor (PBR) 139

4.5.1 Introduction 139

4.5.2 Effect of reaction time 139

4.5.3 Effect of pH 141

4.5.4 Effect of flowrate 143

4.5.5 Effect of concentration 144

4.5.6 Effect of enzyme dosage (Ds) 146

4.6 Summary 147

5 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 148 5.1 Introduction 148 5.2 Summary of Reseach Findings 148 5.3 Recommendation for Future Research 150 REFERENCES 152 Appendices A-B 166-168

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LIST OF TABLES

TABLE NO. TITLE PAGE

2.1 Advantages and drawbacks of immobilization techniques 18 2.2 Summary of FTIR spectra of functional group associated

with free laccase and SOLAC04 28

2.3 Standard substrates and supports for laccase immobilization 30 2.4 Summary of the procedures of enzyme immobilization and

important findings 34

2.5 Biodegradation of alkanolamine using oxidoreductase 39 2.6 Advantages and disadvantages of bioreactors 40 3.1 Source and purpose of chemicals used in this study 50

3.2 Synthesis condition of SGLs 52

3.3 The level of independent variable chosen for the

Box-Behnken design 61

3.4 Design matrix in the Box-Behnken model for the

biodegradation of DEA using FL 62

3.5 Design matrix in the Box-Behnken model for the

biodegradation of alkanolamine using SGL (SOLAC04) 63 4.1 Surface area, pore volume, and pore diameter of sol-gel

laccases synthesised without sonication: (a) one-step (SOLAC01-SOLAC03) and two-step

(SOLAC04-SOLAC06) procedures. 74

4.2 Surface area, pore volume, and pore diameter of sol-gel laccases synthesis (sonication). (a) One-step

(SOLAC07-SOLAC09) and two-step (SOLAC10-SOLAC12). 74

4.3 Biodegradation rates of EA, DEA, and MEA 96

4.4 Experimental conditions in the Box-Behnken design and

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4.5 Sequential model sum of squares 108 4.6 Observed and predicted values of the response 109 4.7 Estimated regression coefficient for response 111 4.8 Analysis of variance for DEA biodegradation performance

4.9 Experimental conditions in the Box-Behnken design and

the corresponding experimental responses 124

4.10 Sequential model sum of squares 125

4.11 Observed and predicted values of the response 126 4.12 Estimated regression coefficient for response 128 4.13 Analysis of variance for biodegradation performance of

DEA. 129

4.14 Comparison between optimisation of DEA biodegradation

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LIST OF FIGURES

FIGURE NO. TITLE PAGE

2.1 Reaction coordinate. 10

2.2 Schematic diagram of the lock-and-key model of

enzyme catalysis. 10 2.3 A simplified reaction mechanism of laccase oxidation

of suitable substrate (Rodríguez-Delgado et al., 2015). 14 2.4 Principle of enzyme immobilisation techniques

(Brady and Jordaan, 2009; Brena et al., 2013) 17 2.5 Enzyme laccase before and after entrapment

(Sassolas et al., 2013) 21 2.6 Schematic representation of the packed bed

bioreactor system for phenol removal using laccase immobilized on alginate beads: (a) untreated sample (phenol model solution); (b) peristaltic pump;

(c) column bioreactor packed with immobilized beads;

(d) treated sample (Niladevi and Prema, 2008). 43 3.1 Standard curve for laccase determination using biuret assay 54 3.2 Schematic presentation of the PBR system for alkanolamine Biodegradation using SGL: (a) untreated sample (substrate); (b) peristaltic pump; (c) column reactor packed with SGL

and silica particles; and (d) feed/substrate sample. 59 3.3 A standard chromatogram of (a) DEA, (b) EA and

(c) MEA 65

3.5 Standard calibration curve of alkanolamine:

EA; DEA; and MEA 65

4.1 Microscopic structure of sol-gel laccases synthesised without sonication observed by SEM: (a) one-step (SOLAC01-SOLAC03) and two-step

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4.2 Microscopic structure of sol-gel laccases synthesised with sonication observed by SEM: (a) one-step (SOLAC07-SOLAC09) and two-step (SOLAC10-SOLAC12)

procedures. 72

4.3 The effect of LL on the laccase catalytic activity of

SOLAC04. Experimental condition: Temperature = 27 ºC,

substrate = 1mM, pH 5 of 2,6-DMP. 79

4.4 FTIR spectra of the FL and SOLAC04. 82

4.5 FTIR spectra of SOLAC04 having different LL values. 84

4.6 Effect of pH on the laccase catalytic activity of the free laccase and SOLAC04. Experimental condition: Temperature = 27 ºC, substrate = 1mM, pH 5 of

2,6-DMP.; LL: 5 mg/mL. 87

4.7 Effect of temperature on the laccase catalytic activity of the free laccase and SOLAC04. Experimental condition:

Substrate = 1mM, pH 5 of 2,6-DMP.; LL g: 5 mg/mL. 89

4.8 Effect of storage duration (27°C) on the laccase catalytic activity of the free laccase and SOLAC04. Experimental condition: Substrate = 1mM, pH 5 of 2,6-DMP.; LL: 5

mg/mL; storage time; 34 days. 91

4.9 Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra of the free laccase and SOLAC04 for 34 days of storage duration at

27 ºC. 93

4.10 Effect of time course of DEA, EA and MEA on biodegradation efficiency catalysed by FL.

[Alkanolamine] = 500 ppm, pH = 5; sample dosage (Ds) =

20 mg; laccase mass (Lm) = 6 mg; reaction temperature (T)

= 27 ºC; and reaction time (t) = 1 h. 95

4.11 Effect of time course of DEA, EA and MEA on the biodegradation efficiency catalysed by SOLAC04. Experimental conditions: [Alkanolamine] = 500 ppm, pH = 5; sample dosage (Ds) = 20 mg; laccase mass (Lm) =

0.35 mg; reaction temperature (T) = 27 ºC; and reaction

time (t) = 1 h. 97

4.12 Effect of pH on the biodegradation efficiency catalysed by FL and SOLAC04. Experimental conditions: [DEA] = 500 ppm; sample dosage (Ds) = 20 mg; laccase mass (Lm) of

FL= 6 mg, SGL= 0.35 mg; reaction temperature (T) = 27

ºC; and reaction time (t) = 1 h. 99

4.14 Effect of concentration on biodegradation efficiency catalysed by FL and SOLAC04. Experimental conditions: pH = 5; sample dosage (Ds) = 20 mg; laccase mass (Lm) of

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FL= 6 mg, SGL= 0.35 mg; reaction temperature (T) = 27

ºC and reaction time (t) = 1 h. 102

4.15 Effect of Ds on biodegradation efficiency catalysed by FL

and SOLAC04. Experimental conditions: [DEA] = 500 ppm; pH = 5; reaction temperature = 27 ºC; and reaction

time (t) = 1 h. 104

4.16 Effect of reusability of SOLAC04 on biodegradation efficiency catalysed by SOLAC04. Experimental

conditions: [DEA] = 500 ppm; pH = 5; sample dosage (Ds)

= 20 mg; laccase mass (Lm) of FL= 6 mg, SGL= 0.35 mg;

reaction temperature (T) = 27 ºC; and reaction time (t) = 1

h. 105

4.17 Predicted versus actual DEA biodegradation performance

of DEA. 113

4.18 3D response surface plot showing the effect of

temperature and pH on the biodegradation performance of DEA (%) at Ds of laccase of 40 mg and reaction time of

37.5 minutes. 115

4.19 3D response surface plot showing the effect of Ds and pH

on the biodegradation performance of DEA at 55 ºC and

reaction time of 37.5 minutes. 116

4.20 3D response surface plot showing the effect of reaction time and pH on the biodegradation performance of DEA at

55 ºC and 40 mg of Ds. 118

4.21 3D response surface plot showing the effect of Ds and

temperature on the biodegradation performance of DEA at

pH 5 and 37.5 of reaction time. 119

4.22 3D response surface plot showing the effect of reaction time and temperature on the biodegradation performance

of DEA at pH 5 and 40 mg of Ds. 120

4.23 3D response surface plot showing the effect of reaction time and Ds on the biodegradation performance of DEA at

pH 5 and 55 ºC. 121

4.24 Predicted versus actual DEA biodegradation performance. 130 4.25 3D response surface plot showing the effect of

temperature and pH on the biodegradation performance of DEA at Ds of laccase of 40 mg and reaction time of 37.5

minutes. 132

4.26 3D response surface plot showing the effect of SOLAC04 Ds and pH on the biodegradation performance of DEA (%)

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4.27 3D response surface plot showing the effect of reaction time and pH on the biodegradation performance of DEA at

55 ºC and 37.5 minutes of reaction time. 134 4.28 3D response surface plot showing the effect of reaction

time and pH on the biodegradation performance of DEA at

55 ºC and 40 mg of SOLAC04 Ds. 135

4.29 3D response surface plot showing the effect of reaction time and temperature on the biodegradation performance

of DEA at pH 5 and Ds of 40 mg. 136

4.30 3D response surface plot showing the effect of reaction time and Ds on the biodegradation performance of DEA at

pH 5 and 55 ºC. 137

4.31 Effect of DEA, EA and MEA reactions on biodegradation efficiency of DEA degradation in PBR catalysed by SOLAC04. Experimental conditions: [DEA] = 500 ppm; sample dosage Ds = 20 mg; pH = 5;

reaction temperature (T) = 27 ºC;

and flowrate (Q) = 100 mL/h. 140 4.32 Effect of pH on biodegradation efficiency of DEA

degradation in PBR catalysed by SOLAC04. Experimental conditions: [DEA] = 500 ppm;

sample dosage Ds = 20 mg; reaction temperature (T) = 27 ºC; flowrate (Q) = 100 mL/h; and reaction time (t) = 1 h. 142 4.33 Effect of flowrate on biodegradation efficiency of

DEA degradation in PBR catalysed by SOLAC04. Experimental conditions: [DEA] = 500 ppm; sample dosage Ds = 20 mg; pH = 5;

reaction temperature (T) = 27 ºC; reaction time (t) = 1 h. 143 4.34 Effect of concentration on biodegradation efficiency

of DEA degradation in PBR catalysed by SOLAC04. Experimental conditions: Sample dosage Ds = 20 mg;

pH = 5; reaction temperature (T) = 27 ºC;

flowrate (Q) = 100 mL/h; and reaction time (t) = 1 h. 145 4.35 Effect of Ds on biodegradation efficiency of DEA

degradation in PBR catalysed by SOLAC04.

Experimental conditions: [DEA] = 500 ppm; pH = 5; reaction temperature (T) = 27 ºC; flowrate (Q) = 100 mL/h;

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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

2,6-DMP - 2,6- dimethoxyphenol

BET - Brunauer, Emmett and Teller BJH - Barrett–Joyner–Halenda CO2 - Carbon dioxide DEA - Diethanolamine DMAMP - 2-dimethylamino-2-methyl-1-propanol EA - Ethanolamine FL - Free Laccase

FTIR - Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrum H2S - Hydrogen sulfide

HCl - Hydrochloric acid

K2HPO4 - di-potassium hydrogen phosphate

KBr - Potassium bromine

KH2PO4 - Potassium dihydrogen phosphate

MEA - N-methyl ethanolamine PEG - Polyethylene gylcol PVA - Poly (vinyl alcohol)

RSM - Response Surface Methodology SEM - Scanning Electron Microscopy SGL - Sol-Gel Laccase

TEA - Triethylamine TEOS - Tetraethoxysilane TMOS - Tetramethoxysilane UV/VIS - Ultraviolet/visible light ANOVA - Analysis of Variance

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LIST OF SYMBOLS % - Percentage A - Absorbance Ds - Dosage ka - Linear coefficients kaa - Quadratic coefficients kab - Quadratic coefficients kac - Quadratic coefficients kad - Quadratic coefficients kb - Linear coefficients kbb - Quadratic coefficients kbc - Quadratic coefficients kbd - Quadratic coefficients kc - Linear coefficients kcc - Quadratic coefficients kcd - Quadratic coefficients kd - Linear coefficients kdd - Quadratic coefficients ko - Constants LL - Laccase Loadings Lm - Actual Laccase mg - milligram mL - millimetre ºC - Degree Celsius pH - Potential of Hydrogen ppm - Part per million SOLAC - Sol-gel laccase

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T - Temperature

v - Volume

x - Multiple

Y - Process response or output

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LIST OF APPENDICES

APPENDIX TITLE PAGE

A Synthesis and Characterisation 166

B Biodegradation of Alkanolamine in Batch Reactor 168

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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1.1 Research Background

Alkanolamine solutions have been extensively studied during the last 25 years because of their industrial importance in natural gas processing plants, synthetic ammonia plants, fossil-fuel-fired power plants, chemical synthesis, petrochemical, cosmetic formulations, agriculture, and pharmaceutical (Chen et al., 2011; Hansen et al., 2010; Xi et al., 2012; Zurita et al., 2005). Alkanolamines are also used in industrial processing plants for acid gas impurities removal such as carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) from gas

streams (Mundhwa and Henni, 2007).

The main problems associated with alkanolamine gas treatment plants is corrosion that occurs on the cross exchanger rich side, rich-amine piping after cross exchanger, still, and reboiler, where free acid gas and higher temperature are the main driving forces for corrosion (Vaidya and Kenig, 2009). This may result in loss of alkanolamine solution to surrounding soil and groundwater due to the rich-amine piping leakage. Other alkanolamine wastes include from the spillage and spent alkanolamine solution generated during plant shut-down. It was reported that alkanolamine, such as N-methylethanolamine (MEA), diethanolamine (DEA), and triethanolamine, are compounds with potential acute, sub-chronic, and chronic toxicity effects towards aquatic species (Libralato et al., 2010).

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One of the approaches that can be used to remediate if spillage and leakage of alkanolamine solutions into soil and underground water system or to dispose of the spent alkanolamine solutions is by using biological method (Grace Liu et al., 2011). Enzyme-assisted reaction was investigated in recent years for its advantages in easy operation, high efficiency, economic, versatile, and environmentally sound solution. It can simulate natural processes and result in the complete destruction of hazardous compounds into innocuous products. The use of bioremediation to remove pollutants is typically less expensive than the equivalent physical/chemical methods (Fernández-Fernández et al., 2013).

Laccases enzymes have great biotechnological potential due to their capabilities and potential in various applications, such as in juice manufacturing (Berka et al., 1998), chemical synthesis, and wine stabilization (Fernández-Fernández et al., 2013), dye decolonization (Bayramoğlu et al., 2003; Champagne and Ramsay, 2010), bioleaching (Widsten and Kandelbauer, 2008), enzymatic fuel cells (Cardoso et al., 2013), wastewater treatment (Georgieva et al., 2008), biosensors in nanobiotechnology (Rodríguez Couto and Toca Herrera, 2006), and biopulping have recently attracted considerable research interests.

All laccase applications mentioned above, of especially on an industrial scale, have increased the demand for high amounts of isolated or immobilized laccase production (Birhanli et al., 2013). Meanwhile biodegradation using enzyme has many advantages, the isolated enzymes themselves are unstable, difficult to handle under non-conventional conditions, easily denatured in non-conventional solvents, inhibited by substrates and products, and it can only work well on natural substrates and under physiological conditions. However, it can be improved by enzyme immobilization (Birhanli et al., 2013).

Currently, the stability increase of laccase catalytic activity could be achieved through immobilisation, which has been investigated by researchers ranging from methods of adsorption (Rekuć et al., 2010; Salis et al., 2009) and covalent attachment (Bayramoğlu and Arıca, 2008; Quan and Shin, 2004; Rekuć et al., 2009)

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on various supports, cross-linking (Jordaan et al., 2009; Matijošytė et al., 2010; Rasera et al., 2009), and encapsulation in reverse micelles and emulsions (Michizoe et al., 2001; Okazaki et al., 2002), organic polymers such as polyallylamine (Rasera et al., 2009) and inorganic polymers such as sol-gel silicas (Mansor et al., 2016; Mohidem and Mat, 2012b; Nogala et al., 2010).

The common sol-gel materials used in biomolecules encapsulation are silica, aluminum, titanium, zirconium, tin, vanadium, and molybdenum oxides (Debecker et al., 2013; Owens et al., 2016). Among them, the use of silica as precursors, such as tetraethoxysilane (TEOS) and tetramethoxysilane (TMOS), in synthesizing sol-gel could offer numerous advantages, for example improving the mechanical strength and stability. It does not swell in aqueous or organic solvent, thus preventing leaching of encapsulated biomolecules. Silica is not a food source for microorganisms and it is biologically inert. Besides, the organically modified silica, such as TEOS and TMOS, offer tolerable hydrophilic, hydrophobic, and H-bonding capacities, as well as electrochemical activities and display good porosities (Alvarez et al., 2007; Owens et al., 2016; Vera-Avila et al., 2004).

1.2 Problem Statement

The present research investigates the use of potential laccase as an enzyme to degrade alkanolamine solutions such as diethanolamine (DEA), ethanolamine (EA) and N-methylethanolamine (MEA) in batch (shake flask) and continuous (packed-bed) reactors. It was reported that alkanolamines, such as diethanolamine (DEA), ethanolamine (EA) and N-methylethanolamine (MEA) are compounds with potential acute, sub-chronic, and chronic toxicity effects towards aquatic species. Generally, alkanolamine is widely used in natural gas processing plant for carbon dioxide removal from natural gas. However, it may incidentally release and contaminate the surrounding soil and water due to the operational plant failure or amine piping leakage. (Libralato et al., 2010). It has been reported that other oxidoreductase

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enzyme such as ethanolamine oxidase and myeloperoxidase appear to be specific for the oxidative deamination of ethanolamine (Lepaumier et al., 2011).

Although biodegradation by using enzyme has many advantages, the free enzyme themselves are unstable, cannot be reused, poor of thermal and storage stability. However, the catalytic activity, stability, and reusability can be improved by enzyme immobilisation (Brena et al., 2013; Sassolas et al., 2013). One major substantial advantage of immobilization is reusability which drastically cut cost of laccase in treatment plant. Nevertheless, the experimental conditions of the sol-gel technique of immobilisation still require some optimisation to preserve the conformation of the most delicate biomolecule during immobilisation and to recover a high fraction of their catalytic activity (Owens et al., 2016).

Consequently, in the present doctoral research, the sol-gel laccase (SGL) was synthesized by manipulating TEA concentration as a gelating agent, laccase loading (LL), agitation conditions (with or without ultrasonic), and experimental procedures

(one-step or two-step) in order to acquire a higher laccase catalytic activity and stability. TEA is widely used as chelating agents in organic synthesis such as the formation of cobalt ions based catalyst with TEA (Xu et al., 2012) and new magnetic bromochromate hybrid nanomaterial with TEA surface modified iron oxide nanoparticles (Rahimi et al., 2014).

1.3 Objectives of Research

The objectives of current research include:

a) To synthesize and characterize the sol-gel laccase (SGL);

b) To evaluate the biodegradation performance and biodegradation efficiency of alkanolamines using free laccase (FL) and SGL in batch reactors;

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c) To optimise the biodegradation performance of alkanolamines using FL and SGL in batch reactors using Response Surface methodology (RSM);

d) To evaluate the biodegradation performance and biodegradation efficiency of alkanolamines using SGL in PBR.

1.4 Research Scope

The research scope is divided into three main parts:

a) Synthesis and characterisation of the SGL.

The SGL was synthesized by manipulating TEA concentration as a gelating agent, laccase loading (LL), agitation conditions (with or without ultrasonic), and

experimental procedures (one-step or two-step). The characterisation of SGL included particle morphology, Brunauer, Emmett and Teller (BET) surface areas, functional group, effect of pH, effect of temperature and effect of storage durations.

b) To evaluate the biodegradation process (i.e. biodegradation performance and biodegradation efficiency) of alkanolamines using FL and SGL in batch reactors;

In order to evaluate the biodegradation efficiency and biodegradation performance of alkanolamines in a batch reactor, several parameters were explored. These include the effect of reaction time, effect of pH, effect of temperature, effect of substrate concentration, effect of FL and SGL dosage (Ds) and reusability.

c) To optimise the biodegradation performance of alkanolamines using FL and SGL in batch reactors using Response Surface methodology (RSM);

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In order to evaluate the biodegradation performance of alkanolamine by FL and SGL and its optimisation by using RSM, the Box–Behnken design was selected. The four parameters such as pH, temperature, reaction time, and FL or SGL dosage (Ds) were chosen based on the produced results.

d) To evaluate the biodegradation performance and biodegradation efficiency of alkanolamines using SGL in PBR.

In order to evaluate the biodegradation performance and biodegradation efficiency of alkanolamines in a PBR, several parameters were investigated. These include the effect of reaction time, effect of pH, effect of substrate concentration, effect of SGL dosage (Ds) and effect of flowrate.

1.5 Novelty Statement

The novelties of the present research are:

(a) A synthesis method of sol-gel laccase which resulted in high laccase catalytic activity and stability.

(b) The application of sol-gel laccase for removal of alkanolamines pollutants which is commonly found in the contaminated water from the natural gas processing plant. The alkanolamines are commonly used in removal process of carbon dioxide from natural gas.

1.6 Thesis Outline

This thesis consists of five chapters. Chapter 1 introduces the problem statements and clarified the objectives and scope of research. Chapter 2 provides a review of past research related to enzyme immobilisation and biodegradation of

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alkanolamines. The materials and methods used in the present research are presented in Chapter 3 while the results and discussion of this research are described in Chapter 4. Conclusion and recommendations of research are presented in Chapter 5.

1.7 Summary

The enzymes immobilisation in the sol-gel matrix have been reported by many researchers to improve their functional characteristics to a large extent. Due to the need for enhancing the catalytic activity and stability of laccase enzyme for wide industrial applications, the synthesis of immobilised laccase in sol-gel silica matrix and its applications was studied. In present research, the SGL was obtained by simple precipitation of TEOS solution by using TEA as a gelating agent in order to degrade alkanolamine in a batch reactor and PBR. Thus the research background, objectives, scope and thesis outline were clearly elaborated in this chapter.

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